How to celebrate April Fools Day in France

By Jean
Reading Time: 3 minutes
April fools day France

April Fool’s Day, known as “Poisson d’Avril” in France, is a day filled with laughter, pranks, and light-hearted mischief. For international students living and studying in France, this day offers a delightful glimpse into French humour and cultural traditions.

Here’s how to fully embrace the fun of April Fools Day in France, from classic pranks to sweet treats.

What is “Poisson d’Avril”

The tradition of April Fool’s Day in France is steeped in history, with the “Poisson d’Avril” being the day’s most emblematic symbol. Children and adults alike partake in sticking paper fish onto the backs of unsuspecting friends and family, shouting “Poisson d’Avril!” when the prank is discovered.

But why fish? Theories vary, but one popular explanation ties back to the shift of the New Year from April to January in the 16th century, with those sticking to the old date being called “April Fools” and given fake fish to symbolize a young, easily caught fish or a gullible person.

Pranks and Laughter

April Fool’s Day in France is not just for children; it’s a day when everyone can enjoy a bit of harmless fun. International students can participate by coming up with creative paper fish designs or engaging in light-hearted pranks with their peers. It’s an opportunity to bond over shared laughter and perhaps even to bring a little of your own cultural twist to the French tradition.

Learn how to make your own craft paper fish: https://youtu.be/HDFL15FxWEc?si=0eqVpK6nxh7mp5es

April fools day france

Exploring Beyond the Pranks

April Fool’s Day in France is also a reflection of the French love for wit, satire, and humour, which can be seen in other aspects of cultural life, from literature to theater to the visual arts. For students interested in delving deeper, exploring French comedic films, reading works by famed French humourists, or attending a satirical play can enrich your understanding and appreciation of French humour.

If you are looking for books, movies, series, fun and good resources to improve your French, check out our article: https://gogofrance.com/en/blog/best-resources-for-learning-french/

April Fool’s Treats

Bakeries and chocolatiers across France craft exquisite fish-shaped chocolates and pastries, turning the day into a sweet celebration. These treats are not only delicious but also works of art, showcasing the skill and creativity of French artisans.

April Fools Day
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From Easter to April Fool’s Day

Easter and April Fool’s Day in France are two distinct celebrations; the first one is celebrated on March 31st while the second one is celebrated the following day on April 1st.

A sweet link between the two is the tradition of giving and consuming chocolates. For Easter, chocolates come in the form of eggs, bunnies, and bells, symbolizing new life and the resurrection. For April Fool’s Day, chocolate fish (Poissons d’Avril) are popular. Both celebrations have elements of fun and play. Easter has its egg hunts and April Fool’s Day its pranks—both encourage lightheartedness and joy among participants, from children to adults.

Learn how to celebrate Easter in France here: https://gogofrance.com/en/blog/how-to-celebrate-easter-in-france/

Celebrate April Fools Day

For international students, April Fool’s Day is an invitation to join in the fun, to learn through laughter, and to experience firsthand the joyous spirit that animates French society. So this April 1st, embrace the playful traditions of “Poisson d’Avril” and let the spirit of the day draw you closer to the heart of French culture.

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